Maya Angelou was known for her autobiographies, poetry, acting, dancing, and activism. Angelou was a woman who lived life fully. Married three times with a number of love affairs under her belt, Angelou was not a woman afraid of love. She was both a lover and a fighter. She embraced both the happiness and hurt that comes with love. So who better than Maya Angelou, known for her sage wisdom, to give dating tips?
“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles. Leaps fences. Penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”
Angelou was not one to color inside the lines in her professional life, she defied expectations for a black woman becoming the first black woman to have her screenplay produced, “Georgia, Georgia” and the first black woman to direct a major motion picture, “Down in the Delta.” So it is little wonder that her love life also veered outside the lines of conventional society. In 1951, Angelou married Greek electrician and aspiring musician Tosh Angelos and later married Paul du Feu, a white British man who was the ex-husband of Germaine Greer, the famed feminist writer.
How open are you to love? Will you allow love to cross color barriers, economic barriers, those of religion and even of gender?
“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”
There you are on the first date, everything is going great. He’s cuter than you remembered and funny too. You’re already picking out the china pattern when he says something rude to your waitress. You ask him why he got so upset and he begins a diatribe on the evils of service workers. Red flag girl! Let this dating tip of Auntie Maya come back to you and know that he has just shown you who he is, believe him the first time. Now everyone can have an off day, but also recognize that people don’t change unless they want to. The way he treats service staff, his mother, his money, won’t change unless he recognizes it’s a problem. Wishful thinking is not a dating strategy.
“Nothing will work unless you do”
Everything worth having takes effort, that includes dating. The mate of your dreams is not going to be delivered to your door. Shake up your dating life. Merely having your profile up on a dating site is not enough to get you the date that you want. If you do have your profile up, are you sending out emails, not just waiting to receive emails? When you go out, are you putting your best face forward, are you approachable, are you starting conversations with people? When was the last time you asked to be set up? In essence, are you working on getting a date?
“Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.”
Are you clearing your schedule in the hopes that your object of affection will make a date with you, but they only call you a day before or at booty call time to get together? Girl, as Aretha Franklin asked, “Who’s Zoomin’ Who?” Is the person you’re so interested in really interested in you or are you one of their many options? Until you’re clear that you are both on the same page, keep your calendar full, but your mind open.
“To those who have given up on love, I say, ‘Trust life a little bit.'”
There are times, especially after a rough break-up that you may need to leave the dating scene to heal, to find out what went wrong, and to ask yourself some hard questions like, “What role did I play in this break-up?” But at some point, you have to get back out there. Life will go on.
Though she had been raped at a young age and left pregnant and unwed at sixteen, Maya Angelou was an eternal optimist when it came to love. She married Tosh Angelos in 1951 and began a long-term relationship with Vusumzi Make in 1961, but never formally married him, she later married Paul du Feu in 1974. Heartbreak didn’t stop her from loving and even marrying again.
Despite all of Maya Angelou’s trials and tribulations, she believed in the power of love. This piece of dating advice is perhaps the most important.
“In the flush of love’s light, we dare be brave. And suddenly we see that love costs all we are, and will ever be. Yet it is only love which sets us free.”